World Water Day: clean water for Iraq and South Sudan

The Federal Foreign Office is promoting a project in Iraq to safeguard the water supply.

The Federal Foreign Office is promoting a project in Iraq to safeguard the water supply., © Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe

22.03.2021 - Article

Worldwide, 1.4 billion people have only a few litres of water per day at their disposal. The Federal Foreign Office has provided 6 million euro to support projects in Iraq and South Sudan which are safeguarding the water supply for 300,000 People.

Iraq: following IS occupation, many water facilities were destroyed
Iraq: following IS occupation, many water facilities were destroyed© Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe

South Sudan and northern Iraq: long distances to the nearest well

On average a person in Germany uses 120 litres of drinking water each day – considerably more than is available to people in many parts of the world. According to UNICEF, 1.4 billion people worldwide have only a few litres of water per day. Moreover, they often have to travel long distances to reach a well.

In Lakes State in South Sudan, for example, only one in five people has access to adequate sanitation facilities. In addition, half of the population has no drinking water at its disposal. The situation in Ninawa province in northern Iraq is similar. Following the occupation by the IS terrorist militia, most pipes and pump facilities were destroyed. For hundreds of thousands of people the daily water ration was only as much as would fit in a large bucket, around 15 litres.

ordirak: Weite Wege bis zum nächsten Brunnen

Im Schnitt verbraucht ein Mensch in Deutschland 120 Liter Trinkwasser pro Tag – wesentlich mehr, als in vielen Teilen der Welt zur Verfügung steht. Laut UNICEF haben weltweit 1,4 Milliarden Menschen nur wenige Liter Wasser am Tag. Oft müssen sie zudem weite Strecken zurücklegen, um einen Brunnen zu erreichen.

Im Bundesstaat Lakes in Südsudan etwa hat nur eine von fünf Personen Zugang zu angemessenen Sanitäranlagen. Der Hälfte der Bewohnerinnen und Bewohner steht zudem kein Trinkwasser zur Verfügung. Ähnlich sieht es in der Provinz Ninawa im Norden Iraks aus. Nach der Besetzung durch die Terrormiliz IS waren die meisten Rohre und Pumpanlagen zerstört. Hunderttausende hatten pro Tag und pro Person nur so viel Wasser, wie in einen großen Eimer passt, etwa 15 Liter.

Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe – drilling wells in Iraq and South Sudan

A safe water supply is also important to stop the spread of diseases such as COVID‑19.
A safe water supply is also important to stop the spread of diseases such as COVID‑19.© Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe

The German non‑governmental organisation Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe is providing assistance for the people to (re-)build their water infrastructure. In Iraq, in 2020 alone, the organisation was able to restore a large drinking water purification facility, drill 6 new deep wells, build 3 water tanks and install 17 chlorination units. Eighteen kilometres of drinking water pipelines were also laid. The people there now have access to more than 100 litres of water per day. In South Sudan, Help has drilled 15 new wells and restored more than 120 that were old and damaged. The two projects benefitted more than 300,000 people in 2020.

2020: 170 million euro for water and sanitation facilities

In 2019 and 2020, the Federal Foreign Office supported the projects with funds to the tune of six million euro. Overall, the Federal Foreign Office made available more than 170 million euro to provide people throughout the world with better access to water and sanitation facilities.

This is particularly important for women and girls. For one reason, they have a greater need for reliable water and sanitation facilities due to the demands of menstruation, pregnancy and birth. Another reason is that it is often women and girls who are responsible for obtaining drinking water for their family and who therefore have to travel long distances on foot to reach water sources or wells.

A safe water supply is a key factor in human survival. It also plays a major role in reducing the spread of diseases such as cholera and COVID‑19. Last but not least, an adequate water supply also provides a crucial basis for economic development, as many forms of work are only possible with a sufficient water supply.

Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid Bärbel Kofler issued the following statement on today’s World Water Day:

Clean drinking water and sanitation are human rights. The German Government is committed to ensuring that all people worldwide have access to these rights. This engagement is vital, particularly in times of climate change.


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